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Remember what you learned in kindergarten – to tell the truth and be kind to others? Well, sometimes adults have trouble with those rules and say or write something that portrays another person, business or government entity in a negative way. If the thing that is said is false, then it can be considered defamation, which has legal consequences. There are two types of defamation: slander and libel. Slander refers to a verbal statement that is both malicious and false, while libel refers to a written or graphic malicious and false statement. State laws do vary regarding the exact definition of slander, libel and defamation within a particular jurisdiction, but in principle it has been illegal since the country was founded. Most of the time, those accused of defamation stand trial in civil court and may be found liable for damages. However, a few states also allow criminal charges to be brought for defamation, though criminal cases for defamation are pretty rare in the United States.